Introduction to Research Methods at Samford

Introduction to Research Methods at Samford

Author: Jonathan Davis
Know more about this course’s overall purpose and how it fits into the curriculum

Welcome to Family Studies 383: Research Methods!

This slide show will serve as an introduction to the course, and as a way to familiarize you with the format of the video content.

Please let me know if you encounter any difficulties using this presentation, either with the technology or otherwise.

The research curriculum at Samford has been developed over many years, and has proven to be one of the most beneficial aspects of the curriculum, according to many students.

One of the reasons that this curriculum is good is that it culminates in a capstone course, Senior Research, that ties together much of what you’ve learned here at Samford.  We’ll build toward the final capstone course in this course, Research Methods, which is sandwiched between Family Dynamics and Senior Research.  In this course you’ll take the literature review that you created, hone the hypothesis that arose from your understanding of the literature, and develop a plan to test that hypothesis.  You’ll propose that plan to Samford’s Institutional Review Board, and hopefully receive approval to conduct your project during Senior Research next semester.  In this way, we have one project that progresses from one course to the next, through the end of your senior year.  The project will result in a paper very similar to those that you have read while you were reviewing the literature.

However, the actual process of writing your paper within each course is less like building a pyramid, and more like a recursive process.

Writing a great paper is more like a circle than a straight line or a pyramid.  This process involves creating several drafts, adding new pieces, rewriting some older sections to make the new pieces fit better, and so forth, ultimately improving the quality of the overall paper.  For example, you will refine your literature review at first, creating a great hypothesis that matches the methods section you will write this term.  But, when you conduct your research project, you may have some unanticipated findings, or problems that cause you to modify the research.  In this case, you’ll need to go back and revise the lit review to provide context for the new things you’ve discovered.  In addition, when you begin to describe what your findings mean in the Discussion section, it will be important for you to connect the findings back to what the literature says.  When you finally come to the end of Senior Research, you’ll have a project to be proud of, one that you can list on your resume, and one that will place you far ahead of other graduates in the field, in terms of understanding research, and generating it as well.

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